Published by Doubleday on June 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start.And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.
Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .
Having experienced mental illness in my family, I adore books that explore it in a relatable and meaningful way. Finding Audrey is about a girl who can’t leave the house, can’t make eye contact with her family and wears sunglasses 24/7. The smallest social situations will send her into a state of panic, and she needs to live in the confines of her own room.
Audrey has depression, General Anxiety Disorder and Severe Social Anxiety, but she doesn’t let that define her. She’s sharp, witty, completely hilarious and relatable as a character. Audrey will regress into her own mind every now and then, but through increasing interactions with her family and other people, she’ll slowly learn to heal.
I am owed so much laughter. Sometimes I hope I’m building up a stockpile of missing laughs, and when I’ve recovered, they’ll all come exploding out in one gigantic fit that lasts twenty-four hours.
Finding Audrey, explores her emotional journey in a positive and realistic manner, where she can finally understand her limits and starts to recover. With witty interview transcripts of her quirky family, talks with her therapist, witnessing her mother’s obsession over her brother’s computer gaming addiction and the sweetest boy Linus, things will slowly look up for Audrey as she literally and figuratively opens her eyes. She’ll start to see that her family needs her as much as she needs them, even though she’s the one with the disorder.
I adored the family interaction in this novel, where Audrey’s mother constantly and obsessively picks on her brother Frank, who she believes has an unhealthy obsession to computer gaming. How many of us have brothers, friends, partners or family members who can relate to this? Frank’s hilarious quips and passive aggressive behaviour in response to her mother’s increasingly crazy behaviour was a fun dynamic to watch, and helps Audrey to understand the bigger picture as to what’s happening to both of them.
I feel a blinding shaft of terror, which I tell myself to ignore, as my brain will often try to send me messages that are untrue and I do not have to listen to them. This is lesson one at St John’s: Your brain is an idiot.
Although I can’t relate to Audrey’s mental illness, I’ve had similar thoughts before where something bad happens and you fill your mind with negative and obsessive thoughts. It’s too easy to beat yourself up over things, but what Finding Audrey reinforces is that moving on is a journey, not a destination. Sometimes you’ll have good days, sometimes you’ll have bad days, but overall you’re making progress towards a long term goal which is what we sometimes forget.
There’s a sweet romance in Finding Audrey, one which was completely cute and endearing and helps Audrey to really see herself from others’ perspectives. She’s not a broken girl who people are scared about, although there was certainly that stereotype. She’s just a girl coping with a traumatic incident, with the love and support that she needs. Linus was a sweet and non-judgemental guy who really helped Audrey to heal. Although the romance was definitely cute, I only wish the driving force behind Audrey’s healing wasn’t the romance though, because I believe that people can be strong with the support that they already have.
“No one said getting better would be a straightforward journey…You’ll go up and you’ll go down. But your progress will be in the right direction. It is in the right direction.”
The book constantly teases what happens to Audrey, but you’ll never find out. I wish we knew what caused Audrey’s mental illness, other than the effects of bullying. But the book does reinforce that you should focus on the present, not the past, which will help you to heal. If only it didn’t leave things hanging though!
Finding Audrey is a witty, hilarious and realistic look on a girl with severe anxiety disorder and depression, who will eventually find her way. I enjoyed the quirky family interactions and the cute romance, but most of all, I loved how it focused on the positive. I’ve never read a Sophie Kinsella book, but I really enjoyed her fun and fresh writing here.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (So much fun!)
Thanks Penguin Random House for sending me this book for review!
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